Entries by KJ Charles

Ten Rules for Writing Joyless Books

My children are avid sticker book consumers. (Bear with me: this is an extended metaphor, not a parenting blog post.) At first they simply wanted to jam the stickers onto the pages, upside down, off the edges, covering each other in great lumps of shiny paper, just for the pleasure of playing with sticky things. […]

Teasers and backstory: Holmes vs Harry Potter

“Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson,” said Holmes in a reminiscent voice. “It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared.” Conan Doyle was the master of the teaser. The Holmes tales are packed with little […]

The Art of the Blurb: How to write back cover copy

Many authors, both self pubbed and those with small publishers, find themselves writing their own back cover copy. Or, at least, staring at a blank screen thinking, ‘Do I have to?’ Yes, you do. The blurb is your biggest and best opportunity to sell your book. It’s what readers see. It’s their reason to click […]

The First-Book Feeling (a view from both sides)

I’ve been a commissioning editor for fifteen years or so, and in that time I’ve taken on a lot of new authors, mostly out of the slush pile. That means I’ve made ‘The Call’ (the offer to publish someone’s first book) many times, and I can say with certainty that it’s far and away the […]

How bad book covers happen: the sordid truth

Needless to say, publishers, editors and cover designers want each cover to be a thing of beauty that will delight the author and sell enough copies to rebuild the Great Wall of China. A lot of work and passion goes into these. People really do try to get it right, and much of the time, […]

Warning Signs You Might Be Living in a Book

I was heading into work this morning, down a busy London street, when I noticed the footprints of a giant cat (bigger than tiger size) splashed in white paint across the road. I looked up to note that the digital temperature display ahead of me was reading -93°. At this point a man walked past […]

Promo post and free book giveaway

This one is all about my book! Which can now be yours! Before it’s even published! The Magpie Lord is released on 3 September. I am very, very excited. So, here’s a free ebook giveaway. Please just leave a comment below and include your email and I’ll pick the winner at random on 24 August. […]

My Manifesto for Global Book Dictatorship

I would like to submit my candidacy for Global Book Dictator, with full responsibility for all book-related matters everywhere. Here’s what you can expect from my ruthlessly autocratic regime. The following will be instantly banned Rubberized covers. The ones that make your fingertips feel weird, like the book is wearing a condom. The use of […]